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LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s new redistricting commission approved congressional and legislative maps Tuesday, ones that are fairer to Democrats than when the process was controlled by the Republican-led Legislature the past two decades, officials said.
The landmark votes capped months of work by the 13-member panel, which voters created to stop partisan gerrymandering.
“It really is a history-defining day. We’ve adopted fair maps that are fair to both parties and fair to the people of Michigan. That’s a big deal,” said commissioner Anthony Eid, one of five members affiliated with neither major political party. The commission of citizens who were selected randomly following an application process also has four Democrats and four Republicans.
“This shows that Michiganders can come together across party lines to defend democracy – an important lesson for our nation and a reason to celebrate,” said Nancy Wang, executive director of Voters Not Politicians, which organized a 2018 ballot drive that amended the state constitution.
The maps will likely face a legal challenge from Black Democrats because the state would no longer have two majority-minority congressional seats in and around Detroit, and there would be fewer such seats in the Legislature. The commission’s attorneys say the federal Voting Rights Act requires that African American voters have an opportunity to elect their candidates of choice, not that there be districts where Blacks comprise more than 50% of the voting-age population. They account for about 44% of the population in both new U.S. House seats.
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